The Benefits of Letting People Figure Out How to Live


What strikes me most about Jonathan Tobin’s thoughts on the benefits of the recent change in federal economic policy is how easily Rhode Island could take the same approach:

What’s even more astonishing is that as the story’s headline concedes, this impending boom is being directly caused by “The Trump Effect.” American businesses aren’t, as The Times points out, merely happily anticipating the cut in corporate tax rates provided by the reform bill passed last month by Congress. What’s really fueling the upturn, according to The Times, is “the Trump administration’s regulatory pullback.”

Despite the widespread consensus in the mainstream media that the administration has been a disaster on all fronts, Republicans have often singled out regulatory reform as a highlight of Trump’s first months in office. Liberal economists have dismissed this assertion as nothing more than a talking point to reassure Republicans that Trump was, despite his populist tone, trying to govern like a conservative. But, as The Times report points out, the impact of his orders to cut back on regulations that hamstring businesses is real.

Since business leaders are reassured that not only will many Obama-era regulations be cut back, but also that no new arcane rules will be implemented in the next few years, they’re able to plan with confidence. That means more investment, more jobs, and ultimately higher wages for workers in a trifecta that appeals to both big business and also to the needs of the working class voters who were responsible for electing Trump last year.

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Government promises security and (somebody’s vision of) fairness as it takes control of the economy.  But when it comes to regulations, its incentive is always to do more than is necessary for a stated policy goal, and the restrictions and uncertainty it places on people who operate businesses do real harm.

In life, we do things like eat healthy, exercise, and visit doctors regularly in order to allow us to live.  When it comes to government regulation, we tend too much to allowing officials to tell us how to live for our own good — or rather, how to live for the good of whomever the government prioritizes.